Cam is in Heaven

by KC Hutter

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You’ve come a long way baby?” Well that is where I happened to be Christmas of 1997. Far from the cold of North Dakota, I lived in beautiful sunny San Diego. I had a wonderful Christian husband and my two sons were both married to wonderful women.

All my husband Jerry and I had to worry about was finding a yacht to fill the empty boat slip in front of our home. We attended a couples’ Bible study, were active in our church, and I also attended a women’s Bible study. Had it made in the shade … just where I had planned my life to be while I was riding a tractor and doing farm work on my uncle’s farm in North Dakota. Little did I know that there was a storm brewing that would take my very heart and soul so far out in the sea that my anchor could only touch for a very few minutes, now and then.

Oh, yes, my sons were both doing well. The oldest son, Del, was a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force and was stationed with Beth and my three grandchildren in Germany. Cameron, my youngest son, had taken over our family car rental business that he and I had been building for the last seven years … oh, yes, life was perfect.

That perfect life lasted only four months. It was not fair, I told myself for the next four years. Life is just not fair! But I was to find out that the Lord God is fair and He was and still is in total control of my life. I do praise the Lord Jesus Christ for all His comfort. When no person or thing could still my broken heart, He did. Through the long, long, long hours, days, months, and years to come I would repeat the words of the song, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.”

On Monday, May 7th, 1998, Susan, our daughter-in-law called and said, “I’m a little worried about Cam. Last Friday he had his teeth cleaned and his gums are still bleeding. His nose was even dripping a little blood.” I wasn’t worried about that, as Cam was 6 foot 4 inches tall and had never been sick with anything serious. I remarked, “Maybe he’s anemic; he might need some iron.” Cam left work and drove his little black Porsche, which he raced on Sunday afternoons, to the doctor for a blood test.

Tuesday, Susan called me at Cam’s and my office where I was working and said she was driving Cam to the hospital as they wanted more blood work.

On Wednesday when I walked into his hospital room, there on his small bed was Cameron and his beautiful wife, Susan. Instead of picking out baby names for the child to be born in six months, they were talking about his acute leukemia. He had only had it one week. His chances were better than 70% that by his 33rd birthday in September he would be cured and life would be wonderful again. As I walked out to my car, it just seemed like a bad dream. I called everyone I knew and said to pray for Cameron. That Wednesday morning I had stopped at my women’s Bible study group and passed a picture of Susan and Cam at their wedding, and we ladies prayed for him.

On Thursday Cam had a beautiful white dove on his windowsill at the hospital. Friday, Cam wanted to go to the first race of the Porsche season, but instead his doctor gave him a ride by ambulance to Scripps Green Hospital where he was to have the best doctors in the world.

Saturday, Jerry and I went to see Cam and he was in a good mood. He was excited about his baby to be born in October. I told him that since tomorrow was Mother’s Day I would buy a couple of cute outfits for Susan, from him.

Sunday, Mother’s Day, Jerry and I took Jerry’s mother, Ruth, along to the hospital to see Cam. I did not know that day would be the last day I would look into Cam’s big beautiful blue eyes.

Early Monday morning I was sitting at my desk and it seemed God said, “GO TO CAMERON.” I told Ed to watch the office and I headed to Scripps with the Bible verse that says God has plans for us, plans to give us a future and hope, typed to place on his bed stand. When I walked into his room, his left eye was black and blue. Standing by his bed, I prayed the Lord’s Prayer and the 23rd Psalm.

Something seemed very wrong. I talked to the doctor on duty to see why Cam did not respond to my voice. She said that he had been a little restless and they had given him some sedatives. She told me, “Don’t worry he will be OK.” I went back to his bedside and his long arm came up to touch his swollen left eye. I grabbed his hand and I told him, “The Lord is here, Mom is here, and you’re going to be OK.” He held my hand tight and gave me three strong tugs, like he was confirming what I had told him. That was my last communication with Cam. I reached up to touch his hair and as I ran my fingers through his hair, there was the death sweat. I called to the nurse that had just walked into the room, “Call the doctor, this kid is not all right.” All at once one doctor, two, three … it all went so fast. An oxygen mask went over his face and the group hurried him out of the room for a brain scan.

There I stood in his empty room when Susan, Valerie, her best friend, and Sandra walked into the room. It seemed hours before the doctor came back into Cam’s room and told the four of us to call the family. Cam’s brain was hemorrhaging in seven places. Within twenty-four hours Cam was dead.

During those last hours, life was a blur. Jerry and I would be by his bedside and then in the hospital chapel praying that the Lord would heal Cam so that he could hold his baby. We were on our faces, on our knees. That was not to be, as Cam’s spirit left him in the early morning hours.

All I could pray for the next two years was, “Jesus, Jesus.” Nicole had given me a plaque that read: “ Do not let go of the hope you cherish and confess. Seize it and hold it tight. Put your hope in what I have promised you. For I am reliable, trustworthy, and faithful to My Word” (Hebrews 10:23). I read this over and over and still my only prayer was, “Jesus, Jesus.” That is as far as my mind could take me.

Working with Cam for the last seven years, I would put books and tapes on his big wood desk almost every month. I told Cam many times, “It is not important how many cars we have on rent, but that we will be together in Heaven.” Sometimes the books would disappear completely. Sometimes they ended up back on my desk.

Still the words that Pastor Miles had uttered, “Cam is on the fence,” were haunting me. One night after I had finished work I fell to the floor in Cam’s office and cried to the Lord to give me some sign that Cam was with Him. The next morning an unbelievable thing happened. Kelley, a pilot’s wife in Australia wrote to my oldest son, Del, in Germany. That letter and another from Kelley’s friend Jill, who had also been praying for Cam, had been E-mailed to him. He read me the most beautiful words a mother can hear. Kelley wrote:

During my prayer time for Cam, I envisioned Jesus coming to Cam while he was in a coma and asking him, “Why have you kicked against Me and denied Me for so long?” And Cameron responding, “My God, You really are He! Why would I choose anything else, I choose to go with You, Jesus.”

I received many wonderful cards and letters following Cam’s death. All these things were like harbor lights to my little boat being tossed in the waves. The only person I let pray for me and with me, except my sweet Jerry, was Bill Rudge. What a faithful brother and friend he was and still is. Bill went to the gravesite with Jerry and me on the second anniversary of Cam’s going home to heaven. Tears by the bottle. I could not go to the gravesite as I would wail until the very veins in my nose would break and the blood would run all over my baby’s grave. Yes, even at the young age of 32, he was my baby.

For many years following, I could not take my eyes off my grief. All my hopes and dreams for the future were gone –– destroyed in one week. Then one day Bill Rudge walked into my office and gave me a set of praying hands. The hands were made of olive wood from Jerusalem. Bill also penned these words, which hang on my wall today:

The Lord spoke to my heart to give you these praying hands from the old city of Jerusalem. The Lord impressed that they should remind you to keep praying and trusting. Restoration. One day your hands and Cameron’s will be together again. Look up, just as the fingers of the hands point heavenward, always keep your eyes on Jesus.

Epilogue

We live in a hurting world and need to be aware of our friends that need to know about God’s love. My life has been changed forever. My boat will never be tied to the dock again. But my Savior has me on a lake where I can fish for men and women to tell them Cam’s story. Through all the tragedy and pain and tears God has been faithful.

Bill Rudge called to ask if “Cam Is In Heaven” would be a good title for this story. I asked him, “How did you remember?” Bill said, “Remember what?” I responded, “On Cam’s headstone it reads, ‘CAM IS IN HEAVEN.’ ”

Precious Lord, Take My Hand

In her memoir, How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, author Kc Christman Hutter chronicles a life filled with disappointments and broken dreams. The question, “What is wrong with me?,” would haunt her throughout the years as she tried to sort out the reasons why. Deaths, divorces, money problems, health problems, and loneliness: through it all, God held her hand. “Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you. If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath” (Psalm 34:17-18). Kc renewed her faith after picking up her uncle’s worn, dusty The Living Bible and reading it cover to cover. She had forgotten how very much God loved her. It wasn’t too long after that Kc met her soul mate, Jerry Hutter, and shortly thereafter they were born again, baptized and married. Life was good. But life is hard. Kc’s handsome, healthy son, Cameron, who had become her business partner, was diagnosed with acute leukemia and within a week he was gone. No one can describe the anguish of a parent who has lost a child. Kc pours out her heart in this book; her soul’s desire is to guide those who are hurting and without hope to the “Mender of Broken Hearts.”